The 1-2-3s of Japanese — a how-to guide for beginners

Whether you are researching a new persona of the Japanese persuasion or just want to attend a Japanese-themed event in proper attire, you need clothes.   And being that your “kimono” from Victoria’s Secret or your old karate “gi” just won’t cut it, you need to make something new.   Japanese garb may seem complicated and daunting to the eye, but in fact it is rather simple.   With that in mind, I humbly present this article.

The first factors that must usually be determined when making any new garb are:   size, shape, and time period.   The beauty of beginning Japanese garb is that these need not be taken into consideration.   Standard sizes prevail.   Garments are not sized to fit the individual; they are sized to fit the fabric width.   Unless you are larger than 64″ in circumference, these clothes will fit you (and if you are larger, adjustments are easy).   Breadth was equated with social importance, so everyone wanted to look wide.   There was no such thing as garments fitting close to the body until much later in history (the 18th century to be exact).   Shape?   There was none.   All garments are made from rectangular pieces sewn together.   As for time period, all ages wore different styles, but one garment unified them all:   the kosode.

Get the rest of this splendid article on the Japanese Clothing by clothing historian Kass McGann: